One of the biggest announcements from this year’s (not-as-big-as-usual) Comic-Con was that Legendary Pictures will make a King Kong origins flick called Skull Island. Initially, Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) was announced as its director, which would've been awesome. But shortly after that news broke, a new Skull Island director was announced: Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
Wait... who? Vogt-Roberts is best known as the director of the 2013 kids-build-a-fort-in-the-woods-because-parents-just-don’t-understand comedy The Kings of Summer, which played on 65 screens and took six weeks to make $1 million at the box office. Entrusting Vogt-Roberts (whose other credits include Funny or Die segments, stand-up bits, and four episodes of FX’s You’re the Worst) with massive action sequences and a franchise-ready origin film (that, we assume, Legendary views as just the first of many) might seem like a big gamble. But actually, it’s part of a trend.
Are you stoked for Jurassic World, the fourth entry in the Jurassic Park series that'll star Chris Pratt as a dinosaur trainer? Well, that one's been assigned to Colin Treverrow, whose only previous credit was the 2012 time-travel comedy Safety Not Guaranteed. This past summer's Godzilla, meanwhile, was directed by Gareth Edwards, who, prior to the green monster, had only directed the $500,000 sci-fi indie Monsters. But now, in addition to the Godzilla sequel, Edwards has a Star Wars spinoff on his plate.
Clearly there's a new model in Hollywood: find the biggest Sundance Film Festival breakouts and upgrade them to mega-budget universes. Do not lay track, do not pass go—just immediately become the next Spielberg. Need more examples? Sony handed its rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man franchise to (500) Days of Summer helmer Marc Webb, while Marvel consistently hires non-auteur directors to keep their universe aligned and similar in tone, the most recent example being Guardians of the Galaxy's director, James Gunn.
So who, theoretically, is next? It might seem foolish to predict such indie leaps, but hey, Skull Island doesn’t open until November 2016. We have nothing but time on our hands. Here are 10 Up-and-Coming Movie Directors Who Have Franchise Potential.
Brian Formo is a contributing writer. He tweets here.